Day in the Life of an IBM Apprentice

Posted: 13th of April 2015 by Anonymous

Name: Oliver Pope-Mostowicz

Job Title: It Architect

Department/Service Line: Strategic Outsourcing (SO)

Age: 23

Educational Background (for example university attended, degree studied):2 A’s and 1 B at A Level, and studied a year of Computer Science at the University of Glasgow before dropping out to join the IBM Apprenticeship scheme.

What does your daily routine involve? For example how do you plan your day and what jobs do you typically expect to encounter?Feel free to also mention social elements of your job and your personal responses to different parts of your day. A timetable is the easiest way to answer this and should be set out as follows;

  • 8am- I like to wake up early and make a proper cup of coffee to start off my day.  I’ll read and make breakfast and generally leave the house by about 8.
  • 8:30- Depending on the traffic I’ll get to work around half past 8 and after catching up with email (I work with clients and other IBMers all over the world so it isn’t strange to receive emails at midnight!), I’ll usually do some work on my GiveBack projects (projects outside your normal role that nonetheless benefit yourself and IBM).  Currently I’m working on: an innovation proposal for a very large client, developing an analytics tool for IBM hiring personnel, administering the IBM Apprentice blog and lastly, a project to improve the IBM Apprenticeship scheme as a whole and establish some best practices.
  • 09:30-12:00 – At around half past nine I kick off my work for the day.  I am an Architect which means I am involved in the high levels of projects: assisting in the direction of new proposals, finding areas for innovation in, or improvement of, an existing solution, and ensuring that the information (documentation) we have for the account is up to date and accurate (documentation may sound boring, but when you deal with Enterprise level solutions that may span many countries or even continents, it is the be all and end all!).  I will attend or host multiple meetings throughout the day, either over the phone or in person and will spend the rest of my time updating or creating the already mentioned documentation, logging into client environments and actually performing technical work/changes or thinking (there are two white boards in my office that get a really good use each day!).
  • 12:00 – 12:45 – I’ll grab some lunch with a colleague (a graduate who is also an Architect) and then go for a walk around the campus (IBM Hursley always surprises me with new paths or gardens I haven’t seen before!)
  • 12:45 – 18:00 – I will usually be continuing what I was working on in the morning, or if I managed to complete that before lunch, I’ll move onto one of the other accounts I work on.
  • 16:00 – coffee no.3 (usually!)
  • 18:00 – shut down the laptop, leave the office.  I’ll occasionally check my phone just in case an important email or call has come through but usually I’m pretty safe to just relax and plough on through Breaking Bad.

Could you describe the social environment in your work place? Do you have much contact with other levels of workers or mainly your peers? I work in my own office during the day, but I will be pretty regularly in face-to-face meetings with other Architects (most of whom are full time professionals – my manager, whom I work with pretty regularly, is also the head of all the Architects in UK&I!) but a graduate who is also an Architect works in the office next to mine so we pretty regularly meet up to discuss any issues that have come up.

What normally constitutes the best part of your working day?

Working directly with the clients is always really rewarding.  It helps you to develop as a person if you need to deal with difficult situations, and work to give the best possible result to the client.  People expect big things of IBM and when you deliver, it is really satisfying.

And the most challenging?

The most challenging part of my day I find is when I am waiting on other people to do things.  I really enjoy my job, and I love working with other people (I get a bit stir crazy if I’m by myself too long!) but sometimes, especially during busier times of the year, it can be frustrating having to follow up with people to move simple things forward.

What sorts of clients do you deal with day to day? Is your role client facing? 

At the moment, because of the responsibilities in the accounts I am working on, I am generally dealing with other IBMers.  That can change quite quickly though and if I need to do something else I will be client facing at the drop of a hat (and sometimes with that much preparation time too!).  I generally am dealing with quite senior clients in the technical side of the business, but as I progress into my role and take on more responsibility it is also quite likely that I will be involved in more of the conversations with managers/decision makers in order to help guide technical discussions and progress the IBM solution for the client.

Do you have many opportunities to socialise or network with your colleagues and clients? 

There is a large community of apprentices, students and graduates at Hurley so there are lots of opportunities to socialise. Being in the Foundation scheme makes it even easier because there are events and meetings scheduled regularly for you to attend to increase your network.

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